Preparing Preschoolers to Seek Truth
Have you ever wondered how to prepare your preschoolers to understand the truth of the Christian worldview? If you have, you are not alone. I receive multiple requests each month, asking for direction on this very topic. And I am writing this blog post as a resource for discerning parents, kids ministry workers, and educators just like you. The following are two simple steps that can set our little ones on the trajectory of understanding the truth of the Christian worldview.
1. Utilize the God-Given Gift of Memory
We often refer to preschoolers as "little sponges." They absorb everything we say and do (much to our chagrin during our not-so-stunning moments). God designed the preschool brain with an incredible capacity for retaining information. The problem is, we often settle for letting our children use this gift to simply memorize jingles, nursery rhymes, and Disney songs. If we want to prepare our kids to understand the truth of the Christian worldview, we need to make sure we use the preschool years to have them memorize sound theology. But that's easier said than done. Right? Actually, it's not. With the proper resources, building a sound theological foundation is straightforward.
The New City Catechism is a phenomenal resource for teaching little ones basic doctrine. It contains 52 questions and answers, each with an accompanying song. Some Christians may shy away from catechism instruction, thinking it's just rote memorization. However, when done well, catechism memorization teaches our children the basis of sound doctrine, the foundation they will need to one day understand the truth of the Christian worldview. Recently, a friend texted me a video of her three-year-old reciting the entire Apostles Creed (the answer to one of the catechism questions). Her daughter doesn’t fully understand what she can now recite. However, the words will stick with her until she is old enough to understand the depth of those truths.
The Attributes of God for Kids by Lydia White is another foundational resource for preschoolers. This book takes A.W. Tozer’s work in Knowledge of the Holy and translates it into preschool language. It teaches children that there are some attributes God shares with us (His communicable attributes), and some that He alone has (His incommunicable attributes). The book includes pictures, printable stickers, Scripture, and review activities - all designed to help kids memorize different attributes of God. It is an excellent resource for helping our little ones understand who God is, who they are, and why they can trust God.
2. Lay a Foundation for Understanding Truth
It is also critical that we use the preschool years to build a foundation for understanding truth. Our preschoolers are growing up in a culture where many believe that truth changes from person-to-person. And, sadly, many teens and young adults raised in Christian homes have bought into this lie. If we want our kids one day to understand the truth of the Christian worldview, we must use the preschool years to lay the foundation for understanding truth.
To develop this understanding, we must help our little ones see that truth is what is real, as opposed to what we feel. To do this, we can send them on a treasure hunt. First, we can read them a note that says someone hid a surprise under the kitchen table. When they check under the table, they will discover that nothing is there! We can then ask, “Did the person who wrote this note tell us the truth?” After they respond, we can read them another note that says a surprise is hidden under the dining room table. When they check and find the surprise there, we can ask, "Did this person tell us the truth?” This activity can help us establish that truth is what is real.
As a follow-up activity, we can play the Truth or Lie game. For this game, we can have our children sit on the floor. We can then say statements that are either true or false. (We should make the false statements things that are obvious or silly. For example, “People walk on the ceiling.”) Every time we say something true, our children can jump up, spread out their arms, and shout, “Truth!” Every time we say something that is not true, our children can curl up into a ball and shout, “Lie!” or “False!” This is a great way to involve our preschoolers' bodies and minds in thinking about truth. After we have played this game several times, we can start asking questions about truth every time we listen to a song, watch a show, or read a book. This will establish in our little ones the habit of discerning whether or not what they encounter is true.
The preschool years provide a fantastic opportunity for setting our children on the pathway of seeking truth. When we capitalize on their God-given gift of memory and develop the pattern of discerning truth from error, we prepare them to understand the truth of the Christian worldview.